A Comprehensive Guide To The Fundamentals Of Pentesting
Copy of External Penetration Testing Methodology

When you hear the word pentesting, what comes to mind? You might think of hackers or cybercriminals with computers in their basements. Like in the movies, people wear black hats, or have a lot of free time. You may not consider pentesting to be serious business. It sounds scary and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, you’ll get to know about all the basics for beginners. You’ll soon be able to start pentesting your own networks.

What is Penetration Testing/Pentesting?

Pentesting is also known as ethical hacking or penetration testing. It is the practice of testing a computer system to find the vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit. Pentesting involves simulating an attack on your systems to check their current security status against unauthorized access. Penetration tests are designed to find vulnerabilities in software and hardware before attackers do. Penetration testers try to circumvent all controls within an organization to provide the most accurate results of a penetration test.

Why is Pentesting Important?

Organizations are increasingly reliant on computers, networks, and applications for their day-to-day operations. As a result, pentesting has become an essential part of security for organizations. It helps to ensure that they are secure from the threat of cyberattacks. Pentesting provides an organization with a clear view of its security posture by simulating real attacks on its systems, networks, and applications. Pentesting can test application controls within your network and applications to ensure that they are secure from pentesting.

When Should Pentesting Be Conducted?

Penetration tests can help you to test application controls within your network. It is especially important if you have an open-source product with known vulnerabilities present in your codebase or infrastructure. Penetration testing should ideally take place before a major incident occurs. However, it may not always be possible for organizations to conduct penetration tests before a major incident.

How Should Pentesting Be Conducted

The penetration test itself typically involves the following steps:

1) Reconnaissance

Reconnaissance is the process of gathering information about your organization, its systems, and any devices connected to your network. Reconnaissance can be done manually by penetration testers using the tools and techniques at their disposal. However, it is often important that penetration testing should not leave any footprints behind as this could alert the system owner of an attack or compromising activity.

Tools for recon are typically automated, and penetration testers can combine them with manual reconnaissance to gain more information about their targets. Some of the popular tools for recon are Nikto, OpenVAS, and Nmap.

2) Scanning

Scanning involves penetration testers looking for open ports on devices connected to a target’s network. They also look for operating system and application vulnerabilities that may be present on a target’s network. penetration testers will use different types of scanning tools to find any open ports, security misconfiguration, or vulnerable applications.

3) Gaining Access

Gaining Access (Exploitation) is the penetration test phase where penetration testers look for ways to exploit devices connected to a target’s network. Penetration testers will use different tools and techniques to look for any weaknesses present in the system that may allow them to exploit said vulnerabilities to circumvent security measures, access sensitive information, or plant malware programs on a target’s computer systems.

4) Maintaining Access

Maintaining Access (Persistence) is where penetration testers check if there are ways they can retain access to a target’s network and continue performing penetration tests. Penetration testers will use hacking techniques such as social engineering or malware to build trust with employees of the organization they are testing, which could allow them to gain an initial foothold in their systems.

5) Report

Penetration testers should provide a detailed report on their penetration test to the client which includes recommendations and suggestions for improving security. Penetration tests can be used as proof of compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS or HIPAA. So, it is important that every penetration test is documented properly in order to demonstrate adherence to these guidelines.

How Often Should You Perform Pentesting

Organizations are advised to conduct penetration tests at least once a year. Pentesting should ideally take place before a major incident occurs but it may not always be possible for organizations to conduct penetration tests before a major incident. However, penetration testers can also use pentesting as part of an organization’s routine security monitoring program. If you’re inexperienced or don’t have a security team that is knowledgeable enough to conduct pentests then you should look for an expert penetration testing company that can do this job for you.

Final Thoughts

A pentest is the assessment of a computer system or network in order to find out how well it can resist attack. The purpose of conducting a pentest is to identify potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers, and then devise ways to address them. This blog post has given you an overview of what pentesting entails when best practices dictate it should take place, and some tips on how to perform one correctly.

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